Authors: Southern Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service, Southern Adelaide Health Services
Event: 2005 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: SA
Award level: Winner
Award category: Specialist Service or Part of a Larger Service
Abstract: Youthlink is a mobile early intervention mental health service for young people 16-19 years of age experiencing significant mental health problems, living in the southern region of Adelaide. It commenced in August 2000, initially as a pilot project - a collaborative endeavour between Southern CAMHS and adult mental health (AMH) services. It endeavours to bridge the frequently occurring gap between child/adolescent and adult mental health services at a time when many serious mental health problems first appear and young people are less likely to initiate contact with services. The goal of Youthlink is to improve the access and availability of mental health and support services to young people, and their families/carers, through providing a service that demonstrates greater youth understanding, along with the capacity to be more responsive, mobile, flexible and aware of youth support services. The focus of the service is rapid response, effective engagement, assertive therapeutic intervention with an emphasis on recovery, and the establishment and maintenance of appropriate linkages of clients to support agencies, services and networks. It provides short-term intervention, before linking young people to ongoing services and support structures. Description of Facility/Organisation: Southern Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is a community-based child and adolescent mental health service operating with an “open door” policy. It provides therapeutic, prevention and mental health promotion support to a wide range of children and families experiencing mild through severe mental health problems across the southern metropolitan and country areas of South Australia. It has a family therapy and systemic orientation, although children or parents may be seen individually for part or whole sessions. Approximately one third of children have severe or complex problems and receive extended treatment. Another third attend for assessment only and the remaining third receive brief therapy. Southern CAMHS has a core staff of 50 people, situated in four main teams and six locations. It is a core funded government service through the SA Department of Health, and also runs both state and federally funded mental health projects from time to time. Its annual operating budget is 4 million dollars. On an annual basis, CAMHS would service approximately 3,200 clients for assessment with the majority for ongoing therapy of both a short or long-term nature.